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Egypt has signed a contract to buy 180,000 tons of wheat from India, Supply Minister Ali Moselhi said on Sunday, Reuters reported.

Egypt, one of the world's biggest wheat importers, is looking for alternatives to Black Sea grain exports, which are facing disruptions due to the situation around Ukraine.

Russia and Ukraine have been Egypt's main wheat suppliers.

The crisis in Ukraine has also raised the cost of imports for Egypt, which heavily subsidizes bread for its population of 70 million.

In May, Moselhi said Egypt had agreed to buy 500,000 tons of wheat from India, but the contract had not been signed.

In turn, India banned wheat exports in May because of declining domestic production, but made concessions for countries like Egypt in need of food security.

"Based on what the supplier said, the condition was that the wheat had to be in the ports, then it would be available. We agreed on 500,000 tons, and it turned out that [the supplier] had 180,000 tons in the port," the minister said.

Moselhi added that Egypt is also negotiating an agreement with Russian suppliers to buy wheat.

Egypt is also looking for ways to extract more flour from the grain, Moselhi said, raising the extraction percentage of flour used for subsidized bread to 87.5 percent from 82 percent.

He added that he plans to save about 500,000 tons of imported wheat and import 5 to 5.5 million tons of wheat in fiscal year 2022/23.

Current wheat stocks will be sufficient for 5.7 months after buying 3.9 million tons in the local crop, Moselhi said.

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